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Myanmar's leader cancels trip to UN General Assembly amid ongoing Rohingya crisis

  • Almost 400,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to neighboring Bangladesh since the outbreak of violence last month, according to the UN.
  • Suu Kyi, a former winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, had been expected to participate in discussions at the UN General Assembly in New York, which runs from Tuesday 19 September to Monday 25 September.
Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi (L) talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (not seen) during a meeting at the Great Halll of the People on May 16, 2017 in Beijing, China.
Nicolas Asfouri-Pool | Getty Images
Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi (L) talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (not seen) during a meeting at the Great Halll of the People on May 16, 2017 in Beijing, China.

Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has canceled a trip to the upcoming United Nations (UN) General Assembly amid intense and far-reaching condemnation for her handling of the Rohingya crisis.

Almost 400,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to neighboring Bangladesh since the outbreak of violence last month, according to the UN.

A spokesperson for Myanmar's presidential office explained the country's national leader had cancelled her trip to the UN General Assembly for two reasons.

"One is the current situation in Rakhine State. We have terrorist attacks and also there are many works on public safety and humanitarian works," Zaw Htay said.

"And the second reason is we have received reports that there are possibilities of terrorist attacks in our country," she added.

Suu Kyi, a former winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, had been expected to participate in discussions at the UN General Assembly in New York, which runs from Tuesday 19 September to Monday 25 September.

'Textbook example of ethnic cleansing'

Last month, insurgents from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army launched coordinated attacks on 30 government targets in Rakhine, resulting in a military crackdown. But international critics say the response has been too heavy-handed, with the UN Human Rights Commission recently calling the state's treatment of Rohingya a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing."

Myanmar's leader defended her administration's efforts to resolve the crisis over treatment of the Muslim minority during her first address to the UN General Assembly last year. However, critics from around the globe have urged Suu Kyi to do more to resolve the crisis.

The crisis could destabilize Myanmar's status as one of Asia's hottest frontier markets. During the first four months of the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the country attracted more than $3 billion in foreign direct investment, while the World Bank expects economic growth to average 7.1 percent per year.

—CNBC's Nyshka Chandran contributed to this report.